Thursday, April 28, 2011


The Tucson cops were on to her. "Her" was Collette Adams, thirty-five years of age, pretty hot, if you asked anyone who knew her, and a lot of people knew her. By day, she worked as a salesperson at the cosmetics counter of the largest department store in town. The pay stunk, even by post civil war standards, and she was in desperate need of supplemental income. Accordingly, by night, she was a prostitute.

Not your regular, typical, every night accomodater, mind you, but rather someone who would be available if the mood hit her just so and the gentleman was presentable enough to warrant her attention. In other words, she was a semi-pro. If the guy had hair, and the money was there, love was in the air.

One morning, as the earth kept spinning on its axis, a command decision was made to incur favorable publicity  by bringing Collette down. The plan was simple enough. It was to be, literally and physically, an undercover operation. Sgt. Laker, a big, strapping, handsome, veteran cop was to approach Collette, at her day job, and, posing as a customer needing help in choosing a present for his sister, (Collette believed this, which makes her head available for someone's rock garden), attempt to talk her into a crash for cash happening. He was cool enough to not mention specific sums but what was left unsaid was also crystal clear. Preparation details were now put into effect.

Two adjoining rooms were rented at a so-so motel at the edge of town. He would take her to room "A" while other cops, cameras at the ready, were in room "B", waiting to rush through the door and make the pinch, upon hearing the pre-ordained signal from Laker, to wit, a loud cough. Not necessarily sophisticated enough to make Double 07 take notes, but, it was what it was, whatever the hell that means.

They met that evening and Laker, relying on his years of experience as to traffic lights, stop signs, etc., made it to the motel in record time, i.e, faster than a speeding bullet ( hold that thought), and the couple began to embrace, quickly shedding their clothes, thereby setting the stage for the question.

"How much will this cost me?", he croaked, his hands indicating that he was in no way ready to perform  brain surgery.
"One hundred dollars", replied the cool Collette, instantly regretting starting so low.

At that moment, Laker coughed.

All hell broke loose. The cops came stampeding in, flash bulbs were illuminating the heavens and Collette was placed under arrest. She came to my office for representation and, pursuant to the natural order of things, we first discussed fee.

"I'm afraid I have no money."
"Well, I can't work for nothing."
"Can we work out some other method of payment?"
"Yes, oh yes."

I explained that, due to the complexities of the case, many, many attorney- client meetings would be necessary. She understood. So did the District Attorney, when he did not object to my motion for a six month continuance.

Alas, the trial date arrived and I felt o.k. with it. My defense would be "entrapment", showing that the criminal intent had originated with the police, who had persuaded my client to go along with it. My theory was in no way spurious and, truth be told, in the past, I had gone forward with much less to talk about.

Sgt. Laker, upon whom the prosecution's case was predicated, was straightforward and confident on direct examination. Midway through, the District Attorney reached for a stack of photographs on his table, selected about half and, with Laker's authentication, put them into evidence. They showed Collette, obviously terrified and embarrassed, desperately clutching for a bed sheet, in a vain attempt to conceal her naked body---all of them different angles of, basically, the same thing. Permission to publish them to the jury was granted, whereupon the D.A. gave them to the  foreman, who perused them, one by one, and handed them to the other jurors for their individual scrutiny.
Not unexpected, but damning, nonetheless. Direct was concluded and I rose to cross.

By virtue of mandatory (by my rules) and intensive pre-trial preparation, I knew what I was going after, but after a few introductory questions, I noticed something that made me pause, a tool which invariably causes an increase in jurors' attention. There, on the D.A.'s table were the unused photos taken at the time of arrest.

"Your Honor, may I examine those photographs (pointing) which the Prosecutor has chosen not to introduce?'
"Objection!" (and a loud one, too).
"No, overruled. You picked and chose; he has the right to at least look at them."
I did.

My first impulse was to immediately bring in the Marine Corps Marching Band, brass section blaring.
The pictures were perfectly focused and the lighting was of professional quality.

They portrayed Sgt. Laker, clad only in jockey shorts, and it would have been a severely uphill battle to dispute the contention that the jockey was still in them.

The talent of Sherlock Holmes was not required to conclude that the good Sergeant had thrown himself into his work, body and soul. And he, regardless of political affiliation, would lead the charge against any bill which proposed the cutting of entitlements.

"I move these photographs into evidence, Your Honor."
The sound of a canon: "Objection!'
"Let me see them, please."
I handed them to the Judge.

To this day, I can only wish that I had a video camera, with me that day, to record what next happened, step by step. The Judge nearly bit his pencil in half as a means of not losing his composure, completely. By the color of his face, it was even money that he was about to have a stroke.
Then, my coup-de-tat.
"May they be shown to the jury?"
A half-gargled "Yes." And, so they were.
It was difficult to, with much detail, distinguish the reactions of the women from the men, save for the fact that they blushed more. But the common denominator was a feeling of gladness at having sat on this particular jury. Standing alone, was the look on Laker's face. It was goddamn, unequivocal pride. I asked one last question.

"Isn't it fair to say, Sergeant, that in the period of time leading up to your arrest of my client, your state of mind was not completely focused on enforcing the laws of Arizona?"

A long pause, and still longer. "No further questions."

When the jury got the case, they retired to their space, solely for the purpose of using the rest rooms, before returning with a verdict of not guilty.
Adrenalized by the win, I quickly packed my briefcase and hurried to my office where, waiting for me, was the only woman I have ever truly loved, with whom I would always relive the details of my day.

But, that's another story.


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